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Nic Ladds 6th Feb 2009 - 14:29

Desperate Middlesbrough to make it unlucky thirteen

Backing Manchester City at odds of 8/13 for anything would usually be avoided like the plague but it is not every week that they play Middlesbrough.

However this is a Middlesbrough side that should they fail to win they will have not won a Premier League game in 13 mathces.

City are wildly inconsistent and an absolute nightmare to try and catch right but they will be disappointed if they can't get a result as odds of 9/2 about 'Boro suggest with the draw at 14/5.

City will be brimming with confidence. Not because of their recent results but because they have new blood in their ranks which will give them a new belief that they can and will get better.

Shay Given is a fantastic signing as he is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League without a doubt and he will give some solidity to the City back line.

Craig Bellamy has bagged a goal already and if he remains fit will be a constant threat and is 9/2 to score first with Robinho at 4/1 in the betting.

Stephen Ireland is still looking lively and has chipped in more than his fair share of goals this season and is 7/1 to score first with new signing Nigel De Jong 8/1 to endear himself to the City fans and score anytime.

Middlesbrough have had to make do with what they have through the January transfer window and this leaves whoever plays out of Tuncay, Marlon King and Alfonso Alves all at 9/1 in the betting to score the first goal.

They have all been misfiring recently and some inspiration from Stewart Downing would have Gareth Southgate smiling and he can be backed at 11/2 to score anytime.

Middlesbrough are without a win in the Premier League in 12 games and the problem does seem to be scoring goals as they don't concede hatfuls.

It is hard to see them beating a rejuvenated albeit inconsistent City side so score lines like 1-0 and 2-0 to City at odds of 5/1 and 11/2 respectively look about right.

If Middlesbrough are to nick one then 2-1 to City is 13/2 while 1-1 can be backed at 6/1 while a much needed 1-0 win in favour of the away side is 10/1 which is entirely possible due City's erratic nature.

Along the low scoring train of thought, under two match goals is 5/2 with over two at 4/5 while Man City to win to nil is 6/5.

For a double result Man City half time/full time is 7/5 in the betting while if you fancy 'Boro to make more of a game of it then draw/Man City is 3/1 with draw/Middlesbrough 10/1.

Mark Hughes did well to survive until after the January transfer window and he has now had the chance to add some of his own players to the side and now he will have no excuses if City continue to disappoint.

Southgate, while loved by the fans is on borrowed time right now as no victory in 12 games and sitting second bottom of the table is not a recipe for longevity in your job.

In fairness a new manager would be unlikely to turn Middlesbrough's performances around as they seem to be lacking all over the pitch and while City are more than capable of throwing in a stinker, their new signings and the positive energy that comes with them should be enough to overwhelm down trodden 'Boro.

Man City to win 2-1 - 13/2

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